Thursday 25 May 2017

Smart Consumer: Can I get a refund for faulty used car?

Q Jean O'Keefe bought a second-hand car from a garage in February and it came with a six-month warranty. The car has broken down three times and is in the garage being repaired.

Jean writes: "It has probably been driven, break-down free, for about six days in total. Our preference is to return the car and get a full refund, but could we exchange it for another car?"

The same rights apply to buying a car as to buying a kettle, for example, so if it is not fit for purpose the seller may be liable to offer a remedy, which can be a repair, replacement or refund.

In practice, though, it can be very difficult to get these rights.

It is more problematic when it comes to second-hand cars, as these by their nature are not 'perfect'. There is also responsibility on the consumer's part to check out the car before purchase.

Taking this into account, if you were sold a car that was supposed to work, and has already broken down three times, you may have a good case. Ask for a replacement or refund, and follow up with this complaint in writing.

If the garage is a member of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (www.simi.ie) you could take your complaint to their dispute resolution service.

With regard to your warranty, this is separate from your statutory rights. Check what your warranty covers -- is it just repair or does it cover replacement? If so, this may be an easier route to go down.

Deirdre Dunphy saw a car advertised online and visited the dealer, saying she was interested in the car's advertised modular seating. While that car wasn't in the showroom, she was shown another car with modular seating. Delighted with the versatility of the seats she decided to purchase the advertised car and paid a €1,000 deposit.

Deirdre says: "When the car came into the showroom the salesman phoned me and said he was sorry but the car I purchased didn't have the modular seating and I'd have to pay €5,000 extra to get it."

While Deirdre believes she wasn't misled intentionally, she wants advice on where she stands.

You should get what was advertised, promised and agreed. This is what you paid for!

Firstly, the car was advertised as having modular seating. Everything in description should be accurate and true, as this provides you with the information you need to make your purchase choice.

Secondly, you specifically requested modular seating and this is what you were shown. Although the car you tested was different, you say that the differences pointed out to you did not relate to modular seating.

You can either pull out of the contract and get your full deposit back, or try and enforce your contract and they can provide you with what was promised at the agreed price.

Irish Independent

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